LFW Day 2 got off to a truly terrible start when fashion week disaster numero duo struck and I slept through my alarm… By three hours. I maintain that the damn thing didn’t go off but frankly, who knows. Eventually I managed to get myself dressed, breakfasted and on the slowest tube ever (damn you district line!!) to Embankment getting steadily more enraged reading everyone’s tweets about the ANTIPODIUM presentation, knowing full well I’d never make it in time. It was raining, I was doing bare legs and I had the mother of all blisters, generally not a great start to the day. On the bright side, I could console myself with the fact I would be attending a Holly Fulton show and her punchy brights and tongue-in-cheek chic style were guaranteed to put a smile on my face.
I wore: Whistles top & skirt, Club Monaco jacket, Anne Bowes Jewellery necklace, Alice + Olivia bag & Kurt Geiger shoes
Image by Holly McGlynn
Once inside the morning’s earlier stress continued to fade away, sitting next to Susie Lau on the FROW I felt pathetically thrilled. I know that sounds beyond vacuous but hey, I’m only human. Holly’s show pulled in some seriously important attendees this season – think Natalie Massenet, Sarah Harris, Jessica Bumpus, Lucinda Chambers – a fact I was thrilled about as a long term Fulton fan. With people like that at your show, the pressure really is on and I thought that Holly absolutely rose to the occasion. The designer’s trademark prints, brights and embellishment were all present and correct although perhaps a little subtler than we’ve seen before. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of OTT chic but this collection felt perhaps more grown up and infinitely more wearable while not compromising the signature element of fun that makes Holly’s work so irresistible.
Holly Fulton SS14 (images via Style.com)
More often than not, the press release for a show gets shoved straight in my handbag to be rediscovered later, a small crumpled ball. Holly’s however I always read in full straight away because I love reading about her latest “woman”. This seasons muse is a 70s siren inspired by soft focus pop icon Noosha Fox. Belted dresses, statements tees and day suits came in soft denim and printed silks featuring hazy florals, kitcsh birds and modernist graphics influenced by the geometric interiors of David Hicks. For after dark Holly delivered intricate embroidery, crystal chokers and touches of tinsel. Particularly impressive this season was her experimental approach to fabrics, creating textured cork ensembles out of leather and mesmerising surfaces from manipulated ribbon. Unsurprisingly, I adored it all, and felt the collection marked a kind of “coming of age” for Holly Fulton. The fearlessness, fun and disregard for all things trend related remains as does her boundless imagination and attention to detail. At the same time what we’re seeing for SS14 is perhaps a more refined and definitely a more wearable vision from the designer. Holly Fulton’s good time gal is all grown up.
Feeling buoyed up by such an uplifting collection I headed back out into the grey London afternoon for a loiter in the courtyard until show number two, John Rocha. John’s show was was another FROW experience (yay) albeit a slightly less comfortable one given how many well clad derrières were squeezed in. I found myself crammed between the lovely Angela Scanlon which is always a laugh and a black clad woman who I think was Lady Victoria Hervey and was rather less jolly. I’ve been attending John’s shows for a fair few seasons now and his sheer, awe inspiring skill with fabric always blows my mind. For SS14 the designer set out to “weave a narrative of grace and elegance”, an aim we can safely say he achieved.
John Rocha SS14 (images via Style.com)
We were treated to an array of embroidered, sculptural creations, utterly elegant and slightly otherworldly. Like Holly, John Rocha is a designer who pays no regard to what anyone else is doing and simply serves up his own brand of sartorial genius by way of sculptural silhouettes crafted from silk organza, crouched georgette and sheer chiffon. While there were many objets d’art, as one would expect from John Rocha, we also saw many more wearable garden party ready numbers too. The watercolour floral dresses were a particular favourite of mine, adorned with origami roses and sunset infused prints. “Summer blooms” run the risk of being a tired look but in John’s seasoned hands it felt original, beautiful and serene. As the show progressed the designer continued his masterclass in textural, offering up sheer black georgette gowns adorned with burnished gold embroidery and laser cut PVC.
At the risk of sounding like a colossal whinger, I couldn’t help but feeling the scheduling on day 2 was a little dodgy. Julien Macdonald, Whistles and David Koma all in different locations within the space of an hour? Even those in possession a driver with no regard for speed limits this would have been impossible. Much as I wanted to see Julien’s latest spectacle and generally rate David Koma, there was only going to be one winner here. Yep, you’ve guessed it, Whistles. The show was held high up Heron Tower with eye boggling views across London and seated cosily with some of my fashion faves, Briony of A Girl A Style, Ella of Coco’s Tea Party and Anna of South Molton Street Style I couldn’t have been much happier. Until I saw the collection that is… Just wow. I warn you now, my borderline unhealthy obsession with Whistles looks set to reach new heights of insanity come Spring. This show was a true testament to the genius of Jane Sheperdson and so far from “fast fashion” or other not-so-favourable terms usually associated with even the highest of high street labels to associate it with such would be criminal. For SS14 Sheperdson offers a more feminine vision than last season, although still oozing the pared back cool we’ve come to expect from Whistles. Opening with an blush pink and faded chambray denim featuring boxy cuts and an attitude of nonchalance, the collection moved seamlessly into ice whites (lots of those for SS14 so maybe steer clear of Merlot), buttery tans and the most incredible, liquid look silver lurex.
A peek at the show notes informed me that Jane had drawn inspiration from an African Safari, a reference that really came through in prints such as blown up Ocelot fur and flamingos, and later looks featuring vibrant shades of evergreen and fuchsia. Shapes stayed true to Whistles now well established sleek, modern aesthetic leaving Jane free to experiment with texture. And experiment she most certainly did, as with basically every other collection I’ve seen this and last season, there was leather a’plenty as well as rubberised and plastic coated cottons, luxe satin jacquard and woven raffia. Without exception, Whistles SS14 collection was a parade of gorgeous clothes I want, nay need to wear perfectly styled with pool sliders, two strap sandals and obscenely covetable handbags.
So, three shows down, three more to go and kudos to anyone who’s persevered with this ridiculously long post up to here! Given that we’re approaching the 1200 word mark I’m going to save the rest for next time but I will tell you that the collections I viewed on day 2 continued to be unanimously awesome!
Love Ella. X